The various works of author, columnist and humorist Lewis Grizzard - It's just over 20 years since Lewis Grizzard died at age 47. I'm not sure how I "discovered" Grizzard. My best bet is that I was looking for something else and stumbled on the delightful titles of his books:
- Won't You Come Home, Billy Bob Bailey?: An Assortment of Home-Cooked Journalism for People Who Wonder Why Clean Underwear Doesn't Grow on Trees
- Don't Sit Under The Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me
- They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat
- If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About A Quart Low
- Elvis Is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself
- Shoot Low Boys - They're Riding Shetland Ponies
- My Daddy Was A Pistol and I'm a Son of a Gun
- When My Love Returns From The Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old To Care?
- Don't Bend Over In the Garden, Granny - You Know Them Taters Got Eyes
That's not all of them but it gives you a taste. Grizzard began as a sports writer and editor, rising quickly up the ladder at the Atlanta Journal, where he was installed as sports editor at age 23. The Chicago Sun-Times then lured him to their staff. The problem was that first and foremost, Lewis was a southern boy. Never happy in the Windy City, he eventually returned to Atlanta.
The good news for us is that Grizzard kept up a steady stream of columns and stories, sharing all the events of his life with his particular brand of self mocking humor. These are the work of an author who understands his trade.
The funny stories can make you laugh until you cry. The sad ones will make you cry till your heart breaks. If I had to pick a single book as my all time favorite, it would be his paean to his father, "My Daddy Was A Pistol, And I'm A Son of a Gun". I'm not sure there is a greater or more heartfelt tribute by a son to his father written anywhere, any time, by anyone.
You can read his books when you've only got a few minutes to spare because many of them are made up of columns. Or you can decide to dedicate an afternoon or day to this great American humorist and let him teach you things about life you never thought about before you turned a page.
Grizzard stands squarely in the tradition of Mark Twain. That's pretty high flown company. Lewis Grizzard is that kind of writer. Quintessentially American, with a sharp eye, a way with words and a willingness to make himself the butt of the joke.
Go find his books today.